What Do Dogs Think Cars Are? [See What’s On Your Dog’s Mind]

dog siting inside car

Do you ever wonder what goes on in your furry friend’s mind when they see a car? Are you curious about how they interpret these big machines? Well, you’ve come to the right place at the perfect time!

Even if you think you have a good understanding of this topic, there’s always more to learn. I guarantee that what you’re about to discover will impress both you and your furry friend. So, let’s dive into the fascinating world of dogs and cars and enhance our knowledge on the subject.

Do dogs know what cars are?

Yeah, I’m sure you are curious to know the truth behind this title. And I am quite sure you will get a positive answer. Have you seen a dog running behind the vehicle sometimes?

Some dogs are very active, energetic, and playful, so because of that, dogs do it. Overall that’s a physical thing. But knowing about cars can be categorized as both mental and physical facts.

When you come back home after finishing your office, your dog is waiting for you, and they can recognize the sound of your car.

On the other hand, your dog has a sense of hearing as well as smell. As soon as they see a car, they can identify what it is. They see cars as a box that can carry him/her here and there.

Because you take your dog with you to the clinic, dog park, trips, etc. Dogs have a high capacity for understanding. But I’m not gonna tell every dog has an ability like that, ok.

It depends on the breed, training system, the atmosphere he/she lives in, and such. Most of the time, your dog is in your car. For example, when I go for groceries, my pooch comes with me.

As soon as I go to the car, my dog notices it. After that, he got into the car and traveled with me. My dog is keen to travel in the car.

So, I guess I’m lucky because he has a pretty good understanding of what cars are. But keep this in mind everyone doesn’t like it, ok.

Dogs don't have an extreme idea about the procedure of a car. But they don't see cars as a hazard. So the answer depends on YES and NO because we cannot read their mind. But we can understand our dogs' thoughts ultimately. Sometimes dogs know things because the vehicle is familiar with him/her.

Do dogs know they are in a car?

Dogs have the capability of realizing the atmosphere they are in. So, of course, dogs know they are in a car. Dogs have a higher capacity to understand things than we.

They can remember the sound there, smell there, and such. So when a dog gets into a car for the first time, he/she can keep it for his/her lifetime.

Although the car is a materialistic thing, dogs can keep it inside their mind. Because cars have a different setting than a house, park, vet clinic, etc. So it has its own identity, and do you think that dogs cannot get it?

What a joke! The most important thing is, when time goes, they love to stay in the car. My dog also gets into my car when I go anywhere. So you see, I don’t wanna any proof because I have my own experiences.

Dogs are fond of sitting on the seat of my car. Specifically, he loves to sit in the front seat or else behind me. And when I open the shutter, he watches the atmosphere.

So you see, dogs know they are in the car and they enjoy it a lot. Dogs are domestic and very understandable. They know what they are doing.

But we cannot expect more things beyond that capacity because they can recognize cars and they know they are in a car. That’s it. They can’t think over their capacity. Such as what kind of a car is this, how can I control it, the speed of the car, and such.

What do dogs think when in cars?

So like I said before, we cannot read their mind, and also we can’t get what they think when in cars. But we can get a brief idea as humans.

How can we do it? Hey man, that is not rocket science. What you have to do is, try to watch your dog’s expressions. You are his/her owner, and you can find out your dog’s mood very easily.

So keep an eye on your dog. So now listen, how’s your dog’s mood? Is she/he very enthusiastic when he/she is in the car? Or very active in the car? Or does he/she have no sense? Is she/he extremely quiet and silent?

If your dog is very enthusiastic, active, or playful when he/she is in the car, she/he is very happy with the car. That’s why they act happily.

They enjoy it themselves. Now we can guess what they are thinking. They are pleased with the journey and celebrate it. They are very happy both his/her inside and outside.

If your dog doesn’t care about the car and tries to lay down at a corner, she/he is not satisfied being in a car. If your dog stays very quiet and peaceful, we can guess something is going wrong.

So you can console your pooch and try to help her/him. Because they are not in the mood. Maybe they regret being in the car.

Some dogs are not comfortable with cars. That’s a very normal situation, and it’s very rare because dogs love to travel with their owner.

Suggested ReadingL: Why do dogs not urinate on road trips?

Do dogs think that cars are alive?

I doubt that. How can I answer it? Lemme start this way. It has two explanations.

The first one is Dogs have the capability of understanding animals because they have a language of their own, they have a smell of their own, they have accents of their own, and such.

Although cars can run here and there, I don’t think dogs think that cars are alive. Have you ever seen, when dogs see animals and humans, dogs respond? Maybe bark at them, wagtails, run away, try to hide, try to play, and such.

Look carefully. When dogs see cars, they don’t respond. Yes, they run away and bark at the car, but when the car stops, they don’t respond at all. So, in that case, we cannot give an exact answer to this question.

The second one is they can’t think cars are artificial at all. Because they have no capability of understanding the things that are made by humans.

The reason is they are animals, and that’s how it is. So how can I define whether dogs think cars are alive or not? We cannot even read human minds, so how can we read our dog’s mind?

Fortunately, we can understand them even though we have hindrances. So this is out of the capability and doesn’t bother thinking about it. If your dog isn’t uncomfortable with the car, that’s ok, and never mind. 

How to tell if your dog knows the car is an object and not an animal?

When I see this question, I remember very silly things. When do dogs know a car is an object? What will happen, hah? They will try to play with it, harm it, bite part of the car, etc.

For now, they bite parts of the car. Like I said before, we can not clarify an exact opinion about this matter. Because we can say, dogs have the capability of understanding living things.

If they can understand living things, they would understand artificial things too. Do dogs sit in front of the car and think about it? I don’t think so.

But I’m sure dogs don’t see cars as animals. I can confirm it. Because when they see an animal, they try to go to that animal and dogs smell them, play with them and such.

But they have no sense with cars. I mean that much. And also, they can’t understand whether the car is artificial or not.

Sometimes they might accept the cars as they think about trees and rocks. The vital difference is cars can walk and make the same sound every day.

Did you know your dog can understand the sound of a vehicle among thousands of vehicles?

Things to be aware of.

  • don’t push your dog to stay inside  the car
  • If your dog refuses to go here and there with the car, leave your dog alone.
  • Don’t punish him/her when they get into the car when you are trying to go somewhere. Instead of scolding or blaming, you can become cunning and do some tricks to take your dog back to the house or cage if you don’t wanna travel with your dog.
  • If your dog is homesick or he/she becomes ill after traveling, don’t take him/her with you. You can take him to the dog’s daycare or your neighbors, friends, or relatives’ home.
  • Don’t your car keep away from your dog? Because your dog must understand and realize what it is.
  • Don’t prank your dog using your car because they will be afraid of it in the future.
  • Try to understand your dog because your dog can not express their feelings to you. The reason is they can’t talk. As a good owner, you should understand what they say.
  • Give your dogs some time to get along with the car until it is comfortable with your dog.
  • When you do groceries, shopping, beach, etc., try to take your dog with you. As a result, dogs will learn how to deal with a car.
  • If your dog attacks cars or chasing after the cars, keep your dog away from the road. Because it is a threat to your dog. Accidents can happen anytime.


This time we have discussed a very impressive subject. Not only impressive but also very enthusiastic and I’m sure it will help you to break the monotonous. To tell you in brief, I clarified the bond between cars and dogs. According to it, I convey how dogs see cars, do they take them as animals, how can you teach your dog to define the object and animals, should they be afraid of it or not, and such. I hope you will get the things correctly and spend an enjoyable life with your lovely pooch.


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